Given the current state of the Buccaneers’ backfield, it would be an absolute stunner (and not the Stone Cold Steve Austin kind of stunner) if they didn’t come away with a running back in the 2020 NFL Draft, which is now under a week away.
Now, Tampa Bay has other needs, including offensive tackle, wide receiver and safety, to name a few. But as of now, there isn’t much backfield depth at all behind Ronald Jones II. Of the remaining backs on the roster, only Dare Ogunbowale and T.J. Logan saw legitimate snaps with the team in 2019. So, with as deep as this year’s draft class is at running back, it feels like a sure thing that the Bucs will come away with a new running mate to pair with Jones for the foreseeable future.
With the need being there and the class being as fun as it is, a lot of time has been spent talking about potential fits for Tampa Bay. There are a ton of names that could form a lethal duo alongside Jones, but the main guys getting some love as potential Bucs targets have been LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins and Florida State’s Cam Akers, as well as Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, albeit to a lesser extent.
But what about the guys that are right outside that perceived top tier? The Bucs could realistically look to address the offensive line and safety needs ahead of anything else, leaving them primed to take a running back later on day two or perhaps early on day three. If things do play out that way, Utah’s Zack Moss might be a guy to keep an eye on.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted Thursday that the Bucs have (or are going to) meet with Moss this week after having met with him at the NFL Scouting Combine:
Utah RB Zack Moss has teleconference meetings with the #Lions, #Buccaneers and #Redskins this past week. He’d previously met with Tampa and Detroit at the Combine. Likely Day 2 pick. https://t.co/uxunct7RBa— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 16, 2020
With as much talk as there has been surrounding the likes of Edwards-Helaire and Dobbins, might we have overlooked Moss as a potential target for Tampa Bay? He’s certainly a different type of running back than they have in Jones, as he is a big, powerful runner capable of straight-up running through defenders. He’s listed at 5-foot-9, 223 pounds in his NFL.com draft profile, in which draft analyst Lance Zierlein says this:
“Watching Moss’ game tape is like watching an exercise in controlled violence on just about every carry, but his vision, balance, patience and wiggle are additional skills that help to make him a well-rounded runner.”
And while there are reported concerns about wear-and-tear potentially dragging down his long-term value, Moss could very well be a steal in the middle rounds of the draft. His production for the Utes was nothing short of impressive, as he ran for over 1,000 yards in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. His junior season in 2018 was cut to just nine games due to a meniscus injury, yet he still ran for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns that year. In his four-year career, he ran for 4,067 yards and 38 touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Of course, Tampa Bay is in search of a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, so you’re probably wondering about that aspect of Moss’ game. Well, he showed at Utah that he was plenty capable as a receiver. He wasn’t used a ton in that part of the game, but he still managed to rack up 66 catches for 685 yards and three touchdowns over 45 games, averaging 10.4 yards per catch.
Overall, Moss is an intriguing fit. He’s drawn comparisons to both Kareem Hunt and Marshawn Lynch in the past, and he really is a different type of back than the Bucs currently have. And given their meetings with him, they appear to have some interest.
We’ll see how things shake out next weekend, Bucs Nation. How do you feel about Moss as a potential target for Tampa Bay?